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Vinco's (Václav Obšivač) craftsmanship is so well known and characteristic that his puzzles are easily among the most recognizable in the puzzle community. He uses different wood tones to create all these beautiful geometric patterns and sharp contrasts that it's hardly seen anywhere else. Another subtle characteristic of his work that's only noticeable with touch is the use of wax in the pieces, which not only helps to preserve the wood, but also makes it easier to slide the pieces in place.
Theo's Halfcubes is not a coordinate motion puzzle, unlike many of Vinco's designs. Instead, you'll be using its eight pieces to assemble them into several different shapes, including a cube, already assembled in the package. Like the name suggests, Halfcubes was made in collaboration with another great puzzle designer, Theo Geerinck. If one great puzzle designer can do wonders on his own, what could possible be achieved when two of them work together?
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Each of the eight pieces comprising the puzzle consists of two halfcubes joined together at different angles. If you were to join two halfcubes you'd get a perfect little cube. You can actually see all possible combinations, since each piece is unique. What's fascinating about the puzzle is that you are not restricted to build just a cube out of the eight pieces. In fact, there's at least six different shapes you can attempt to solve, the cube included.
To build a shape you have to keep in mind not to leave any inner parts exposed (the two opposing triangles). You can join any two pieces together by simply connecting them with opposite triangle orientations. The cut tolerances are mostly very good and the pieces will stay connected unless you really want to take them apart.
Solving any of the shapes isn't an easy task. Be prepared for a lot of experimentation as you go, connecting and disconnecting pieces along the way. I was able to make two extra shapes, a square with a hole in the center and a heart, and both took about 15 minutes each to accomplish. I found the heart a bit easier, but my guess is that it was pure luck. I can't be sure if it's possible to build more than the six available shapes, because of the exposed inner parts. I tried but didn't come up with anything. Nevertheless, these will be enough to give you good value for your money.
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Theo's Halfcubes is a welcome change in Vinco's portfolio. It still shows his characteristic work, but brings something new and original which is great considering the hundreds of different designs in his name. As for Theo Geerinck, be on the lookout for more collaborations between these two designers. There's at least two more out there, Theo's Octopus and Theo's Box.